My kids and I came up with this one tonight. Had we had fresh peanuts, we would have used them in a heartbeat, but Jif works, too.
Peanut Butter Frosting in a Blender
Yield: 3/4 C Frosting
Like the middle of a peanut butter cup, only it spreads!
6 oz sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
Blend the sugar first. We did this by blending at Speed 5 for about 30 seconds. Tada! Powdered sugar.
Next we added our peanut butter (room temperature) and butter (straight from the fridge). We pulsed this until it was grainy, scraped the powdered sugar out of the corners, and pulsed again.
Then we added the milk and vanilla, pulsed until this was well incorporated, and then ran through a cycle at speed 1. The peanut butter frosting was thick enough that it got stuck a little here and there, but the WildSide jar had everything smoothed out by the time the cycle finished.
That’s it. We scraped it out, cleaned up the jar, licked our fingers, and frosted our cake. Tastes awesome. I think it would taste even more amazing as a “filling” between layers of a cake that would ultimately be frosted with chocolate. We’ll get to that recipe next time 🙂
Why I Love The Blendtec Blender
So, I love my Blendtec blender. I never would have thought I’d spend that much money on a blender when you can buy cheap ones for about $30. In fact, several years ago when my dad bought his Vita-Mix, I thought he was crazy. “But it can make SOUP!” he said. ”And ICE-CREAM! And Juice, and smoothies, too!”
“That’s nice.” I thought. I can make soup in my crock pot, and if I were bent on making ice-cream, I’d buy an ice-cream maker, right? Besides, whether or not the Vita-Mix could make all those things was moot: would my dad actually USE this big nasty looking blender regularly? Or even enough to outweigh what he spent on it? That was the question, and, several years later, the answer was still no. His Vitamix was huge, so it spent most of its time in a cupboard. Every once in a while he’d pull it out, make something, have a hard time getting his food out of the bottom of the jar… not get it very clean… gross.
Meanwhile back at my home, I wore out my little blenders and food processors regularly. My ex had texture aversions and wouldn’t eat most cooked or canned fruits and veggies. My kids followed suit. The best way to get them their veggies? Blend them! We enjoyed lots of smoothies, too. I’d cut everything up, blend it, freeze those into “smoothie cubes” and then add those cubes to milk for a relatively quick breakfast.
A few years later, I’m doing the single-mom thing, going to school full time, working myself crazy on contract projects, when this really cool company contacted me asking if I could come work for them. Me? Work for Blendtec? SURE! (I don’t work there anymore, by the way.)
They needed me to design their site. I told them I’d need to get to know their products better first. So they sent me home with a Blendtec to try. 90 days and more than blend 700 cycles later, I got my own Blendtec. Not more than 90 days after that, my parents bought a Blendtec, too. Their Vita-Mix was moved to a shelf in their basement.
I was such a rabid fan, and already a bit of a social media geek, that Blendtec let me jump in and start running their social media campaign. I told people back then, “Even if I got fired tomorrow, I’d still be a Blendtec fan for life!” Well, Just a little over a year after I was hired, I decided to go home to spend more time with my kids. I was not fired. I was happy there, and they were happy with me, but my kids needed me.
But like I said then, I am now and will always be a Blendtec fan for life.
So, I started this blog. I figure I’ll go snag a Vita-Mix and do some head-to-head reviews. I already know I love my Blendtec, but we want to be fair, right!? I’ll even compare with my old blender so you can see what a difference it makes.
Or, that’s the plan at least. I’m still a very busy single momma. But the very least we can do is post our recipes here, so we will do that and see where it goes from there.
Why I’m switching to Vitamix!
Anyone who knows me well never thought they’d see the day, but I can explain: One of my good friends is very ill and doing the Cancer Diet — more or less a low-sugar, vegan, raw food diet. She’s been trying to give this a go using her Bosch blender attachment, and of course ends up with little bits of leaves floating through her green drinks. Gross. Poor girl is going through enough without having to choke down slimy bits of fruitless “chunkies.” Yes, green smoothies are tasty — when they are SMOOTH! And that’s hard to do without a high-speed blender.
So when I visited her today, I knew what I needed to do.
My parents switched to Blendtec some time ago, but have kept their VitaMix in the basement. So I called and asked my mom if I could lend her blender to my friend while she fights for her life, health, and family. Of course they didn’t mind, so long as they could have it back when she’s ready. But my train of thought went something like this:
– Chemo kills energy. If I were in my friend’s shoes, I would want the Blendtec (lighter jar, easier to clean, less effort in blending, etc.) Plus I have an extra blender jar I can let her borrow, too.
– Really using the Vitamix myself for a while, on a daily basis, would give me a much less biased perspective than what I would gain through some simple side-by-side tests.
– My friend has a cute preschooler. If somehow the loaned blender got broken, I’d feel much better if I had to replace my Blendtec than my parent’s (generally unused) Vitamix.
– Assuming my cute friend keeps the Blendtec for a good long while, I’ll have further motivation to save up for the new Blendtec Designer series, which I really, REALLy want.
– Kissing my Blendtec goodbye for a while gives me more motivation to get this blog up and going. And, here we are!
So! Vitamix it is, for now! I’m going to tape a quick review of both blenders in all their heavily-used glory, then send the Blendtec off to my friend and pray for her miracles. 🙂
Manifesto of a non-health nut
So, guilty confession time: I’m not a raw foodist. I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian. I am not gluten free.
I am not healthy.
I used to be pretty good at getting my daily fruits and veggies in, and had spent a happy summer eating mostly raw. But right now, on any given day, I’m more likely to have had a churro from the local Del Taco than enjoyed my green smoothie. The grim truth: I’ve had nothing today but milk and some of the cookies my boyfriend gave me last night.
It’s not like I don’t know better. I’m just … well, suffering from post-holiday sugar addictions, for starters. Moving to a new place (and driving past Del Taco every time I make a trip) hasn’t helped either.
It’s time I help myself.
I’d been meaning to start this blog for a long time. Now I’m in a much sunnier kitchen, feeling more like I’m home. My friend needs my Blendtec blender. My kids need healthier food. And I finally have a little time to work on this site. What a coincidence, right?
So, before my audience of none, or maybe one (Hi there!), today I commit to use my blender love to love myself. I’m not going to go all out and change everything. I’m not even going to allow myself feel guilty for it, either. But I will change one thing today by rekindling my green-smoothie habit. For the sake of this blender-loving blog, for the sake of my kids, and for my well-being.
P.S: If my kids saw the poor grammar in this title, they’d ask, “So does this mean you’re not a health nut, or you’re an unhealthy nut?” They know as well as anyone that it’s probably a bit of both. So I’m leaving it for now. Hopefully within a few months I can reclaim my dignity.
First observations about the Vita-Mix 5000
I gave up my Blendtec to a friend on Monday afternoon. Tuesday I did little but clean my old apartment (and eat more cookies — d’oh!), so today’s the first day I’m really using the Vita-mix.
🙂 My creamy pesto sauce still tastes awesome
🙁 The lid (at least on the Vita-Mix 5000) is really hard to get on and off. Between that and the heavier pitcher, it feels really awkward. I am sure I’ll get used to it after several more days, but I have to wonder if I’ll be spending extra time fiddling with it even then.
🙁 I also thought the tamper would eliminate cavitation. It helps, but doesn’t stop it altogether with thick blends. Adjusting the speed does seem to help a bit, though.
🙂 To me, the Vita-Mix 5000 seems a bit quieter than the total blender, but that could be because I’m slowly speeding up. The slowest speed in particular is very quiet — my dishwasher was running, too, and I could hardly hear it.
🙂 I miss being able to multi-task during blends.
🙁 I had a really hard time scraping my sauce out of the Vita-mix!
I would say I wish I had my Blendtec back, but I’m glad my friend is loving it right now. She and I will swap in a few months if she’s up for it.
Creamy Spinach Pesto
We’re actually not huge recipe people around here, since I like to experiment a lot. Maybe I’ll work on this one for a while until it’s perfect, but in the meantime, my kids love it:
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Creamy Pesto-Spinach Sauce
1 C packed spinach
1 T pesto
1/2 t dried rosemary leaves
1/2 t minced garlic
1 T lemon juice
3/4 C cottage cheese
Salt to taste
Blend until smooth & serve over pasta.
This makes enough to cover two big servings of pasta.
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Sorry I’m not good at food photography just yet. This does taste good, though, and I shall get better. 🙂
Better Smoothies in Cheap Blenders
I haven’t always been able to just throw in my fruit and go. These tips will help your blender be its best:
– Cut fruit into chunks, not based on size, but on how quickly they will blend. Fresh strawberries will blend faster than frozen bananas, for example, so make frozen fruits in smaller chunks.
– Put the juiciest fruit and liquid on bottom, and heavy fruit on top.
– Add ice (or frozen fruit) last. If necessary, blend other ingredients until they’re smooth, then add ice one or two chunks at a time.
Freezing Fruits & Veggies
– Bags of washed spinach (like the big bags you can find at Costco) can be frozen directly in the bag so it will last weeks instead of days. Use a measuring cup to pack and measure spinach as you’re scooping it out.
– Spotty bananas taste sweeter than their less-ripe counterparts, and they’re often cheaper, too. Cut into slices and freeze on a pan before storing in freezer bags.
– Pour leftover smoothies into a flexible mini-muffin pan for frozen cubes that can be blended into other smoothies. We’ve also used these little frozen pieces of fruit-puree to flavor Cream of Wheat or to cool a too-hot cup of herbal tea.
Enchilada Soup (from leftovers)
I just had a root canal, and with my aching mouth was not in the mood for smoothies but also couldn’t deal with a chewier dinner. So I blended up a batch of comfort food. In case it’ll help inspire a meal for you:
1 leftover Chicken Enchilada (mine had a corn tortilla, chicken, cream cheese, and green chilies, along with a little salsa, tomatoes, and guacamole)
1 can of chicken broth
1 chunk of cheese
A few red pepper flakes
Salt & chili powder to taste
Blend til it’s hot (or blend, then heat if your blender isn’t as fancy – this should work in a normal blender, too) then enjoy.
Did you know you can make crepe batter with a blender? Of course you did, but you probably hadn’t thought about it. This recipe is courtesy of the one and only Alton Brown. I made these this morning. Both kids thought I was the best mom ever.
I added a mixture of softened cream cheese (how to soften quickly? Put 3oz of cream cheese in a microwave safe dish, microwave at 60% power for 1 minute) with half of a single-serving package of strawberry yogurt… that was easy to stir by hand since it was soft. I spread this down the center of each crepe, then added a few spoons full of freshly sliced and sugared strawberries and blueberries.
A sprinkle of powdered sugar and? Well, I’d post a picture were it not for daylight savings wrecking my breakfast-time lighting, but suffice it to say, they were amazing.
Peanut Butter: Vita-Mix vs Blendtec
So this morning I finally made peanut butter in the Vita-Mix. I used to make it fairly often in the Blendtec, but, I sort of dreaded trying to clean the Vita-mix out afterward. In each of these models, we used a 12 oz can of roasted peanuts (sorry, I don’t like the taste of raw peanut butter) and two teaspoons of coconut oil to help keep the peanut butter from separating.
Vita-Mix 5000 (64oz jar with tamper)
Time: About 3 minutes of blending
Pros: Pretty easy
Cons: The blender started to smell hot after the first minute. Also, it was a pain to clean up, in fact I’m still scraping peanut butter out so I can have my smoothie.
Blendtec with WildSide jar
Time: About 8 minutes, including pauses to push the peanuts down.
Pros: Easy to scrape out
Cons: Have to keep stopping the blend to push the nuts into the blade, so it takes a while.
Blendtec with 4-side Jar, or what once was the standard jar
Time: About 6 minutes, including pauses to push peanuts down.
Pros: Again, easier to scrape out when you’re done making the peanut butter. Also this one works a little better than the Wild-Side jar, probably because the base is smaller.
Cons: You still have to pause and use a spatula to push the nuts toward the blade, but not as much as with the WildSide.
Blendtec with Twister Jar *** WINNER ***
Time: About one minute
Pros: Fast, very easy to scrape out
Cons: Need for a separate jar. If you have a Blendtec, though, and you frequently make babyfood, peanut butter, very thick icecream, or other very thick blends, it’s worth the investment.
Anyway, so, this site is still very new and probably not even showing up on Google just yet, but if you have any questions about the Vita-Mix versus Blendtec, feel free to comment. I’m well-versed in both and am happy to try stuff here at home.
Vegan Veggie Bean Burgers
Prefer your burgers without slime? Try this awesome recipe from Blendtec’s Recipe of the Week collection. They’ve posted several recipes on Facebook, and you can also subscribe to their weekly recipe email here.
These veggie burgers really are incredible, but if you want slime-free burgers made of beef rather than veggies, simply use your blender to grind your own meat.
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 Chunk onion, approx. 2 Tbsp
1 Med carrot, halved
1/2 Bell Pepper
1 Jalapeño, halved with seeds and membranes removed
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed, drained and divided
2 Tbsp water
1 Tsp Cumin
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp Kosher Salt
Cooking oil to grease pan
Add oats to jar and secure lid. Press “Speed Up” until the blender reaches speed 5. Run cycle for 20 seconds and press “Pulse” to stop the blender. Add oat flour to mixing bowl and set aside.
Add onion, carrot, bell pepper and jalapeño to the blending jar. Add enough water to cover the vegetables, secure lid and press “Pulse” 8 to 10 times. Pour chopped vegetables over a fine mesh strainer. Press out liquid and then add the chopped vegetables to mixing bowl.
Add 1/2 cup black beans to mixing bowl. Add remaining beans, 2 tablespoons water and seasonings to the jar. Secure lid and select “Sauces.” Add bean blend to mixing bowl and incorporate with other ingredients. Allow mix to sit while nonstick skillet heats up.
Grease the skillet and scoop approximately 1/2 cup of mix per patty and flatten with back of spoon. Cook patties until heated through.
Fresh pineapple tastes SO much better in smoothies than its canned cousin. Here’s how to prepare a pineapple for blending:
Prep your pineapple as soon as you get it. Pineapples don’t ripen, they rot. If you haven’t chosen your pineapple yet, I choose mine by smelling the bottom. If it smells like sweet fresh pineapple, you have a winner.
Use a sharp knife to cut the top off of the pineapple.
Balance the pineapple on that flat end for a moment. That lets some of the sweet juices drain down.
Cut the other end off the pineapple.
Work around the sides, cutting off thin slices of the rough skin.
Remove big eyes with a paring knife or a sharp veggie peeler.
For blending, from there you only need to cut the whole thing into wedges, and then slice each of those into smaller chunks. The core is sweet and packs fiber, if your blender can handle it. I put these chunks on pan to freeze, then I’ll bag them for smoothies. For snacking, you can either cut around the core to get spears which can be sliced to size, or slice the pineapple into round pieces and then cut the core out of the middle.
And now for a yummy green smoothie recipe using that pineapple!
Layer up the blender like so:
A medium peeled orange (or two small ones)
1 ripe banana (peeled, of course!)
A big handful of spinach
About 1 cup of frozen pineapple chunks
12oz cold water (If your pineapple wasn’t frozen, fill the blender to the 12oz mark with ice, first, then fill to that level with water.)
Chia, protein powder, vitamins, or whatever other things you like to add
Blend away til you can’t see the spinach bits anymore, and enjoy!
Chocolate Frosting in a Blender
This makes a very creamy, soft, super delicious frosting that tastes awesome on warm or cool cakes. I did notice that keeping this in the fridge for more than a day or so changes its consistency, so you will want to use it up. Of course, after you taste it, you will want to use it up anyway 🙂
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Chocolate Blender Frosting
1 cup condensed/evaporated milk (not sweetened)
1/2 cube butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
The trick to this one is just letting it blend long enough that it thickens into creamy goodness, but not so long that it gets warm. So, layer up your blender in that order, speed up slowly, and then blend on high for a minute or so, until the sound changes – a sign the frosting has thickened.
Pineapple Banana Bread
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 t vanilla extract
1 c fresh pineapple chunks
2 cups bananas
High altitude: Preheat oven to 375
Blend dry ingredients and pour into a bowl.
Blend wet ingredients, add to dry ingredients and combine well.
Pour into two greased 8x4x4″ loaf pans
Bake for roughly 1 hour. An inserted toothpick should come out clean.
Non-high altitude: Preheat oven to 350 and use 1/4 cup less flour. I have not tested that variation.